Research Journal

Lameness And Performance Problems In Barrel Racing Horses Categorized

A retrospective case series was used to identify the types of problems associated with lameness and poor performance among barrel racing horses presented for these complaints.

Most (61 percent) of the 118 horses included in the study were presented for a complaint of lameness and only 39 percent for poor performance. Forelimb lameness was more common than hind limb lameness. Failure to turn correctly around the first barrel was the most common complaint related to poor performance.

Most horses (40 percent) raced with steel rim shoes on the front feet with flat steel shoes (27 percent), heel wedges (11 percent), rocker toes (7 percent) and other types less common. Seven percent of horses reportedly raced barefoot.

Palmar foot pain was the most common cause of lameness (33 percent) followed by arthritis of the distal hock (14 percent) and suspensory ligament desmitis (13 percent). Oral phenylbutazone (bute) therapy was the most common (88 percent) treatment recommended with or without intra-articular medication of the coffin (42 percent) and hock (24 percent) joints, intravenous hyaluronic acid (26 percent) and intramuscular glycosaminoglycans (23 percent).

The authors note that lameness causes for barrel horses in this study were different than those previously reported by these and other authors based on clinical impressions alone. This study suggests the most common lameness causes for…

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Albert Kane

Albert J. Kane, DVM, MPVM, Ph.D.

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